TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

ECDC reports rate of HIV infection increased by 8 percent in 2012

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that new cases of HIV infection increased by 8 percent in the WHO European Region in 2012.

More than 31,000 new HIV infections were recorded, with the European Union and European Economic Area accounting for more than 29,000 infections.

"Our data show that nearly every second person tested positive for HIV in the EU/EEA - that's 49 percent - is diagnosed late in the course of their infection - which means they need antiretroviral therapy right away because their immune system is already starting to fail," ECDC Director Marc Sprenger said. "This shows that we need to make HIV testing more available across Europe to ensure earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment and care."

In the EU/EEA, the highest proportion of HIV was reported in men who have sex with men at 40.4 percent. Heterosexual transmission was reported at 33.8 percent. For 18.7 percent, the mode of infection was unknown.

In approximately 32 percent of HIV cases diagnosed within the EU/EEA, patients do not have a CD4 cell count, which is required to determine if the person needs treatment. This means "a substantial number of people across Europe need antiretroviral therapy but are not receiving it - either because they have not yet been diagnosed with HIV or because they have not been linked to clinical care and follow-up," according to the ECDC.

The EU/EEA reported 4,313 cases of AIDS in 2012, a decline of 48 percent.